Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category

A City Weeps

This last week Seattle lost long time anchor woman Kathi Goertzen.  After a long battle with brain tumors and many attempts to remove them, her compromised body had had enough.    But it was pneumonia that finally took her.

Kathi Goertzen

Kathi Goertzen (Photo credit: Steve Lacey)

Those of us living in Seattle followed her story and her courage through her long battle.  She lost her smile on the outside only – her courage never wavered.  She was a role model for grace under pressure to all of us who watched with horror as the brain tumors increased with ferocious intensity.

When we learned that she was only 54 – we were stunned.  Not that she had brain cancer and had struggled for more than 12 years with this – but that she was so young.

Greg is 52 and does weddings and funerals for a living.  It is not unusual for him to perform a memorial service for young adults and those more than 10 years younger than himself.  It seems to be a growing epidemic for men and women to struggle with things like cancer and heart issues to die while only in their early forties.  On rare occasions it happens even earlier.

I am reminded of what the Bible says in James 4: 13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Our bodies are temporary and meant to break down and eventually die.  The body is not who we are and we cannot be defined by it.  Our real self is much deeper than just our body and will live on past this life.  I am grateful for this, as I have had people I love already pass on into the next life.  And it is especially comforting to read in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A gift from God.  No matter what happens to me while I’m here on earth.  No matter what battles physically I have to fight.  A place where there will be no more fighting.  No more long battles with things like cancer and heart disease.  No more sickness of any kind.  No more loss.  No more weeping.

I am taking many long moments of reflection in this last week to truly be thankful and live in the moment.  Because we are not promised tomorrow – any of us, it is important to stay in the present and live in an eternal state of contentment and thankfulness.

My prayer for you and your family is this:  That you may stop and reflect today on the many reasons you have to be thankful.  For contentment and courage in all your present circumstances.  And for the love of Jesus to be an ever-present compass as you embrace your life and others around you.

God Bless

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How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

My Pain In The Neck

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

Image via Wikipedia

I woke up with a headache.  These days it is somewhat unusual – and only happens if I sleep on my neck wrong – or something is out of alignment.  I’ve had sinus pressure, stress related and even bad migraines headaches – but this pain in the neck is different.  It takes the skilled hands of my chiropractor to “fix it” and adjust my neck and spine back into position before I feel better.

It’s funny how a pain in the neck colors everything about the day.  Things are just a little bit more gloomy – situations seem bigger than they really are, food and even coffee doesn’t help.  The little tasks seem more difficult and take longer.  And it gives me true empathy for the chronic pain sufferers out there – who live with some kind of pain every day of their life.  “How do others do it”?  I think to myself.

Some things are not so easily “adjusted” away – like my temporary pain in the neck.  Things like bad circumstances and unexpected events happen to us whether or not we want them to – or are ready for them.  And negative and bad attitudes seem to be on the rise – those that throw their weight around in very ugly ways.  It’s all around us.  Sometimes I’d like to give those people an “attitude adjustment” – but that isn’t possible.

I’m thinking that God would like to shake us up a bit once in a while and give us a reminder that we need His adjustment in our lives to deal with those around us – and mostly to deal with our own bad attitudes of selfishness and complaining.

“Lord, adjust my heart and my mind today.  With your hand on my life, I know I will begin to look at myself and others differently – with much grace and thankfulness.  I know that I will see every day pain and frustration as an opportunity to find grace and share it with others.”

Amen

When was the last time you had to have a personal “attitude adjustment”?  What did God teach you?

 

God Bless

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

God Bless

 

 

A Lesson From Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Image via Wikipedia

I am a Trekkie.  I admit it.  I’ve been a fan since the 60’s when Kirk, Spock and McCoy were first roaming around the galaxy.  I remember watching the show on a black and white TV – and then moving to a color set sometime later.  This show was in reruns on cable for years after and when I heard that they were going to start “The Next Generation” series in the late 80’s – I was not interested in watching it – being loyal to Kirk, Spock and McCoy – but after it came to an end – some seven seasons later – we started seeing it in reruns and got caught up into it.  Now I am a fan – and own all seven seasons on DVD – as well as ALL the Star Trek movies 🙂

One story in particular from “Next Generation” has always been interesting to me.  It is an episode in which Captain Picard receives an opportunity to go back into his past and change things.

Time travel has always been an intriguing notion for me.  I love the “Back to the Future” trilogy with Michael J. Fox and pretty much any movie that deals with that subject.  And I mean, who doesn’t want to see what life was really like for your parents or grandparents?  I’m sure it wasn’t all “pie in the sky” as they sometimes try to tell us.  People are people with the same inclinations and temptations – in any decade or century since the beginning of time.

In the episode where Captain Picard goes back in time – it is to change a circumstance in which he got into a bar fight as a young cadet – and in that fight had a sword put through his heart – and would have died if there had not been an artificial heart (only in the 23rd century people).  And though he was grateful to be alive with that heart – it was not without its problems as with any technology.  So “Q” takes him back to “fix” the mess that got him into that fight to begin with.

Ultimately he learns a lesson about himself. It was his feisty and competitive nature that got him into that fight – but also propelled him into opportunity for his future.  He was a risk taker and someone who lived on the edge.  He was not afraid to go after things with gusto and dare to excel in places that most would not.  When armed with the knowledge of the future events about his artificial heart – he goes back to the past – determined to avoid the fight and keep his heart in tact.  But because of his new cautiousness – everything in his life changes in the future. He jumps to the “present” after carefully avoiding the bar fight – and now in an “alternate future” – with his own heart – he finds himself on-board the enterprise once again – only this time he is NOT the Captain – but a lowly ensign. He overhears his “superiors” doing a review of him – and they say that he is a nice man – but one who has always been careful – and afraid to take a risk. It was too bad, they said – he had a lot of promise.

This is the worse thing that you could ever say about Jean-Luc – and he repents of wanting to go back and “fix” his past – just so he could have his real heart. He gladly accepts his fate as part of his journey for being himself and following his heart – so to speak 🙂

How many of us face a similar crisis of faith?  Faith that things happen in life and along our journey because it is the way it needs to be? There is a rhythm to our lives and only God knows the back story and our future story and all the reasons for things in between.  When we try to “fix” things – we are never successful.  It is like gambling about our future and not having the right cards.  Never a good idea.

All of us were given character traits and gifts.  If we are using them as God intended – we are going to have things that happen to us along the way.  Things that are uncomfortable – and things that we would sometimes like to change.  But because we don’t see the “big picture” of all of our events, like God does – changing things in our past would only be harmful and leave us feeling empty and be a life squandered. There is a reason things happen as they do.  It’s taken me many years to be comfortable with that knowledge – and just when I think I really do understand it – I slip back into the “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME??” thing again.

God knows all about our lives.  Things come to us to shape us and make us who we are. Those hard and painful things – are more than just inconveniences and things to avoid – I believe in every one of them – there is a lesson. And I am grateful for all of them – for the friends I’ve had to say goodbye to – for the situations that I had to go through, but them ultimately walk away from – for the uncomfortable process of learning more about myself and others – and for separation from things and people who I really thought I couldn’t live without.  Through all of these things – there has been a reason.

And in all of this I say, “Thank you Lord – for your blessings – through the storms of my life.  For the things that have made me who I am today.  For the additions and the subtractions of my life – for the pain and regret – the friendships and loss – for all of it  – Thank you”

I want to live my life with the unswerving conviction – that all things happen for a reason – and not live with regret – but press forward – using everything that God has given me – unafraid to take those risks and try new things – those things that make me uniquely – me.

God Bless

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